FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The period in-between

It is the squeeze that we abhor, the suspension of life during that time.  Like the craven soul that is relegated to purgatory or the mass murderer that must await the culmination of the sentence imposed, it is the period in-between that is wasted because we are frozen in time by the certainty of the past already ensconced and the future that is determined but yet to be fulfilled.  That is the rub, isn’t it?

The uncertainty; whether the future can be altered or modified; or has fate already made an irreversible decision and judgment?

When Scrooge encounters that ghostly apparition representing the future in Dickens’ classic tale, A Christmas Carol, isn’t that the question posed – whether the course of future events as foretold could be altered, modified, reversed or otherwise replaced?  But while we wait, what can be done?  For, in reality, it is too often thought that only the judgment rendered can then be worked upon, worked around or somehow accepted submissively as fated karma that cannot be countered.

Thus is that the reaction of Federal and Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position – it becomes the period “in-between”.

It is the “in-between” doctor’s appointments to see whether there is any hope of getting better; “in-between” performance reviews to see if anyone at work has noticed; “in-between” temporary teleworking arrangements to see if the Federal Agency can extend the authorization; “in-between” surgery and recovery to see if you can go back to full duty; and on and on, “in-between” the crazy universe of a medical condition and a dying hope for a future withering on the vines of other’s expectations.

It is like being stuck in mud, frozen in time, watching as the impending future comes upon you.

However, there is an affirmative step that can be taken to begin the process of altering, modifying and changing the course of an expected future event – by preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

While filing a Federal Disability Retirement application may not be a solution to the medical condition itself, it is a step towards altering and modifying the course of future events that are controlled by the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service, by accessing an employment benefit that recognizes that you can no longer perform the essential elements of your particular Federal or Postal job, but there may be other things in life that you may be able to pursue.

That is how the period in-between can better be embraced, by making sure that the future does not end with a definitive period at all, but merely by a comma that represents a brief pause.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Admitting defeat

It is probably the single most difficult thing to do in life, and its inability reflects upon the abysmal state of education, both higher and lower.  The manner in which education is perpetuated – where “right answers” receive accolades and admitting of defeat merely alters the pecking order of who is admired and who are relegated to the detritus of human society – merely reinforces the greater loss of empathy, the destruction of civility and the coarsening of society.

Facebook, too, merely perpetuates the focus upon destroying an opponent and quieting any voices that may provide a quiet revolution, as alternate voices are silenced into submission by mere meanness of bombardment and repetition.  Some would applaud this all-too Darwinian approach as merely reinforcing the innate nature of “survival of the fittest” – for, admitting defeat is tantamount to revealing weakness, and the weak are mere fodder for the strong and stronger.

Whether in argumentation of discourse or fighting battles, wars – real or virtual – or verbal encounters characterized as harmless skirmishes on the Internet, it matters not anymore the manner in which one prevails, only that one does reach the apex of any endeavor, profession or undertaking.

Once upon a time, there were some rules of engagement – of a civil discourse where debates were conducted in quiet tones and respectful venues, and where humility called for admission of recognizing the greater argument which results in establishing the goal for the greater good.  Now, it matters not the means; for the end justifies the means and if you can shout down the opponent, lie about the facts and cheat around the strategy, it is the winner who is looked up to and the victor who walks away with the spoils.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, it may be that the best way to avoid admitting defeat is to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, but somehow one’s priorities have become skewered in this obsessive-world where admitting a medical condition is tantamount to admitting defeat, as opposed to merely recognizing the limits of human endurance and the frailty of the human condition.

Fortunately, the rules governing Federal Disability Retirement benefits allow for the Federal or Postal employee receiving Federal Disability Retirement benefits to go out into the private sector, or even into the state or local government, and work at another job or vocation and make up to 80% of what one’s Federal Government or Postal job currently pays, and thus, to that extent, obtaining a Federal Disability Retirement annuity is not considered admitting defeat, but merely a change of venue in the pathways of life’s complexities throughout.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: In the “not working” world

Excellence is rarely seen; the artisan is dead to the world; and we all struggle through knowing that trinkets from foreign countries symbolize the incompetence of the universe in which we must continue to exist.  Something is not working.  We all know it, feel it, worry about it and whisper in circles where such things are concealed and rarely revealed.

Life is formed by multiple concentric circles; we live within various spectrums of such parallel universes, sometimes entering into one and exiting another; at other times, remaining stuck in between.  There is the objective reality “other there”; there is, then, the subjective world of our own thoughts, emotions, anxieties and unspoken soliloquies.

There are “worlds” out there that we know nothing about – of corporate boardrooms where issues are discussed that we only read about; of high places and conspiracies; of dungeons in other countries where unimaginable torture and cruelty are conducted; and all throughout, we remain within the narrow concentric circle of our family, friends, the limited sphere of people we know, and the problems that loom large within the consciousness of our own worlds.

Throughout, we know that there was once a time, long since past, where the world worked better; maybe, perfection had never been achieved, but the age of politeness, of courtesy, of communities actually caring and thriving; or, perhaps that existed only in those old black-and-white television shows like “Leave it to Beaver” or “Happy Days” (yes, yes, the latter one was in color).

There is a sense, today, that something is not working; that we live in a “not working” world, and no repairman can be called to “fix it” because no one has the skill or expertise to diagnose the problem, and even if there were such a person, we don’t quite know what the “it” is, anyway.

It is quite like a medical condition that begins to impede, to impose, to interfere – like Federal and Postal employees who have dedicated their entire lives to working for a Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service, then are beset with a medical condition that begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position.

What does one do?  Can the doctor “fix” it?  Often, we have to simply live with it.

In those circumstances, the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition and can no longer perform all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position, who lives in that concentric circle of a reality of living in a “not working” world, must consider the next steps – of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in order to step into another concentric universe of sorts, and move on in life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Game changers

Rarely do we have advantages in life.  Instead, most challenges are full of obstacles in our way, advantages tipped in favor of another’s, and an imbalance that seems to make life’s lottery of spectral choices a weighted unfairness that no amount of complaining seems to make a difference about.  We hear about them; yet, they rarely attend to our own needs nor join “our team”.

Game changers are those influences or components that suddenly make winning more favorable.  They normally become a part of the “other” team, but every now and again, life may throw a ray of sunshine down our path, and game changers become an element of one’s own “team”.  Perhaps it is a secret piece of knowledge no one else is privy to; or a piece of information that others have not yet been provided access to; or a person with exceptional talent who has given indications of sympathy to a particular cause; or even a new methodological approach that has not yet been widely disseminated.

Whatever the element of advantage, game changers open up circumstances that favor the success of one side over another, and appear at an optimum time when others have yet to prepare for the surprise addition.  At least, that is what they appear to do in novels, movies, plays and fictional life.  In real life, there are rarely such advantageous elements that make a difference.  Instead, most of life is a steady monotony of hard work, less complaining and a representation of the tortoise-like ethic as opposed to the hare that dashes off and runs ahead of everyone else.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the concept of a “game changer” should be a familiar one.  For, when the medical condition first began to impact one’s health, that– in and of itself — was a game-changer: against you.  And when your work began to suffer because of the medical condition — that, too — was a game-changer: against you.  And when you needed to take excessive Sick Leave and Annual Leave, then LWOP, that was again a game-changer – again and too familiarly, against you.

It is perhaps time to begin preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management; that, too, may be a “game changer”; but this time, in your favor, so that you can perhaps begin to focus upon the changing games that need a true game changer – your own health.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Bugs

Some are systematically exterminated; others, kept by organic farmers for their predatory advantages, including killing others; and still others are quickly brushed off as pesky little creatures not necessarily bothersome in numbers or even in appearance, but because “bugs” are simply not tolerated in an antiseptic universe where good order and neatness cannot include the appearance of a creature that may do nothing but crawl, creep and fly about in the open space of a garden, within a house or along the fence posts.

They have become a generic “catch-all” phrase that includes anything that moves about that is smaller than a rodent and larger than a speck of dust.  We have, additionally, transferred the sense of anathema in a more metaphorical manner, as in “bugs” in computers or in other appliances that fail to work properly, as if the living bugs in the universe are equated with those imaginary deficiencies of human technological innovation.  Then, there is the phrase, of course, of being worried about something, or having something bother one’s thoughts and invading the peace of one’s mind, as in the question, “What’s bugging you?”

We attribute and project from experiences we have had, and by analogy and metaphor transmit reputations that may never be deservedly ascribed.  Bugs are, in the end, creatures that are avoided, entities that have a reputation encompassing something less than desirable, and for the most part, have become a focus for instincts to exterminate, no matter that they are environmentally positive and have contributed to the balance of nature for endless ages.  And yet, we squash them without a second thought, brush them aside and swat at them to rid them from this universe.

They are, in many respects, tantamount to a microcosmic manner in which some people treat other and fellow human beings.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the very concept of the “bug” applies in so many small and almost insignificant ways, but we just don’t realize it.  Has it “bugged” you that the Federal Agency or Postal facility mistreats you because of your medical condition?  Are you considered now as nothing more than a pesky “bug” that irritates, and does the Agency wish to treat you as nothing more than a “bug” to be squashed if given half the opportunity?

Yet, despite having contributed to the mission of the Agency or the work of the Postal Service for all of these many years, just like the bugs that have made the environment better throughout, the Federal or Postal worker with a medical condition is considered expendable.  It may be time to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: Content

What do we mean when we distinguish between “content” as opposed to “context”?  Are the two always distinguishable, and if so, are there any features or characteristics that make inseparability a potential difficulty?

We have all heard the famous phrase from King’s speech about being judged by the “content” of one’s character, as opposed to the “color” of one’s skin – a deviation of sorts from the more customary reference to the distinction made between appearance and reality, form versus substance, or even of spiritual versus material (although, as to the latter, one will often hear the metaphysical argument that it is the spiritual which is the “real” reality, and that the material is merely that fleeting, temporal existence that lasts for only a limited time).

Can the two truly be separated so cleanly as to allow for harmless independence – or, like the Siamese twins that share a vital organ, would any attempt necessarily devastate both?  For, isn’t it the very appearance of a thing that attracts and allows for an investigation further into the inner depths of the thing attracted towards?  Doesn’t context always matter when looking into the content of a thing, whether it is an incident, a conversation or a person of whom one is interested in committing to for a lifetime of relational considerations?

We often like to make such grandiose claims of bifurcating distinctions, when in fact the reality of the matter is that both are needed in order to complete the picture of the whole.

One may argue, of course, that content nevertheless is “more important” than context, or that substance by definition is of greater consequence than appearance, and by fiat of ascribed significance, one often argues that the former is necessary but perhaps not sufficient without the latter, whereas the latter is not unnecessary, but nevertheless cannot be made without unless one wants to walk about through life with a missing leg or a part of one’s soul left behind.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, always remember that – in preparing the SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability – the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is looking for both content and context, and thus must one always be wary and cautious about the implementation of both.

SF 3112A is a trick form.  The questions seem simple enough, but what is put in there; the legal consequences of what medical conditions are included; the result of failing to include certain other conditions that may later be of greater consequence; these, and many more pitfalls, obstacles and unknown legal impact that may or may not be made aware of – well, OPM is not going to tell you beforehand, or help you out, and will indeed judge the Federal Disability Retirement application based upon the content of what is included, and not by the “color” of contextually missing information.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire